Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks: Overcoming Arthritis In Dogs

Arthritis is a health problem that not only humans deal with, but so do their animals. In fact, one-fifth of dogs in the US, over the age of seven, suffer with painful DJD (degenerative joint disease) as veterinarians like to say. It is also one of the top recurring pains in dogs that they treat. Arthritis in dogs can affect their back, elbows, shoulders, hip and neck.

If youíre not sure if your dog has arthritis, here are a few obvious signs:

Does he tend to favor once side over another (His joints could be too painful on one side, so he will tend to put more pressure on the other to avoid pain. He may even show discomfort while standing or even sitting on a particular side)

Unusual weight gain (Because of the painful joints, he may tend to be more lethargic or even sleep more not getting the exercise a healthy dog would generally get)

Not as active (If youíve noticed he isnít as playful or unusually hesitant in his movements. This is due to stiff joints)

If youíve noticed your dog with any one of the above symptoms for more than a week, donít hesitate to take him to a veterinarian. This way he can be properly diagnosed and treated.

There are home remedies that you might even want to try to ease his pain.

Diet

Your dogís diet is one area that you might want to look into. Dry dog food is made up mostly of grains which cause inflammation of the joints. A better choice would be to try preparing his meals with raw or cooked meat as well as cooked vegetables. They are not only healthier for him but should help alleviate some of the swelling in his joints. (Stay away from anything spicy such as peppers and even onions). Omega 3 fatty acids can be used as a supplement in order to decrease the amount of inflammation in the joints. Try giving him fish capsules. Flax seed is also a great anti-inflammatory.

Exercise

Even thought your dog may be in pain, itís still important that he gets a short amount of exercise. If heís not skittish to water, try having him swim. For smaller dogs, a kiddy pool would work great. This way, there is no pressure on the joints, yet he is still being mobile. Also take him for short 15 minute walks. Donít expect too much from him such as running after a ball or jumping.

Warm and Comfortable rest area

Provide a soft, comfortable area for your dog to rest. In the winter time, when the cool air can stiffen joints, try placing an old sleeping bag or pillow on the floor to help keep his joints warm. If your dog is an outside dog, you may want to bring him into the garage at night, to avoid the temperature drops.

These are just a few ways that we can help make our pets lives more comfortable. Although, visiting a veterinarian should also be considered. Your veterinarian will probably take an x-ray to see the damage to the joints. With the rising amount of animals that are developing arthritis, there are medications that have been developed to alleviate and even help repair the joints.

A popular medication for dogs in alleviating pain is glucosamine. It is a sugar that is generated from shell fish that motivates joint repair and lessens joint pain. Glucosamine is a natural ingredient that is found in animals, but with age, the body has a decrease in production of this essential element. Glucosamine works by stimulating your body to produce Synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is needed for healthy joints. It lubricates the cartilage to aid in mobility.

Never take matters into your own hands by giving your dog human medications. They can be toxic to his body, especially if given in the wrong dosage form.

Animal care has come a long way in meeting the needs of our canines. Taking your dog to regular check ups at a veterinarian is one way to keep up with your dogís health needs. If we want our animals to have happy and healthy lives, taking care of their bodyís is important. They canít do it without else.

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